By Godfrey Marawanyika
Zimbabwe is trying to reach an agreement to distribute its stones directly to China, Dubai and Israel without violating rules against the sale of gems from the Marange fields, Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the state-owned Mineral Marketing Corporation Ltd., said.
The U.S. may also get involved in discussions, Mutsvangwa said on the sidelines of a Chamber of Mines annual meeting in Nyanga today. The proposal wouldn’t violate rules because Zimbabwe outside of Marange was certified compliant in 2010.
Zimbabwe, which produced 8 million carats of diamonds in 2012 worth $865 million, is the world’s seventh largest diamond producer. Its output this year is estimated at 16 million carats, according to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu.
Diamond mining in Zimbabwe was mostly confined to central and southern parts of the country and expanded to the eastern district of Marange after the discovery of alluvial diamonds, boosting production since 2006.
Diamonds from Marange can’t be exported legally from Zimbabwe because the field hasn’t yet met an international certification standard showing that proceeds from sales aren’t used to finance conflict.